The 26-year-old comedian's profile has risen quickly over the last couple of years. From being an up-and-coming stand-up star playing the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, the last three years have seen him do two seasons of MTV's 'Human Giant,' a half-season as lazy intern Ed on the eighth season of 'Scrubs,' a big role as awful stand-up comic Randy in Judd Apatow's 'Funny People,' a one-hour stand-up special on Comedy Central, and a season and a half as Tom Haverford on 'Parks and Recreation.'
I caught up with Ansari at NBC's all-star press party last month and asked him about how his character, who plays the scheming right-hand man of the earnest Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), has developed since the show started, and what's next for a guy who's done a lot in such a short period of time.
Here's a program that every self-proclaimed comedy fan should know. From 1998 to 2000, the Upright Citizens Brigade television series ran for three seasons on Comedy Central, developing a solid cult following. The four stars, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Amy Poehler wrote and starred in the series, playing just about all the characters and giving us gems like Ass Pennies, Spaghetti Jesus and little Girl Scout Cassie.
With the strike still in full effect, new episodes of The Colbert Report won't be coming to Comedy Central anytime soon. So Colbert and the cast are moving the production to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City for one show tonight. Just as 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live did before him, Colbert is bringing his "No-Spin Zone" to a sold out crowd.
Advance reservations are sold out, but there will be a standby line. No word on if there will be any guests, nor if Colbert will be performing "classic" bits or new material, though if he follows directly in the footprints of Rock and SNL, there won't be any new written material. But Colbert is a gifted comedian, so surely he can't be penalized by the Guild for ad-libbing some stuff. "Tonight on The Colbert Report, we investigate what the hell happened to my cameras, and where all these people came from."
Here's some great news for you fanatics of the UCB/Comedy Central brand of "alternative" comedy: Comedy Death Ray, the popular Los Angeles comedy show, is coming to you in Web and audio form. The first CD (double CD!), produced through Comedy Central Records, will feature the likes of Patton Oswalt (King of Queens, Comedians of Comedy), Maria Bamford (Comedians of Comedy), David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development) and Paul F. Tompkins (Mr. Show, Best Week Ever). The album will consist of footage from the live show taped at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles and at the SF Sketchfest in San Francisco. It will come out this summer.
Comedy Death Ray will also produce shorts for the comedy broadband site Super Deluxe, including a comedic soap opera called "Lake Charles Lake."
You can read all about the new ventures on this thread over at A Special Thing, which also includes some insight from Comedy Death Ray co-creator Scott Aukerman, who developed the show five years ago with fellow actor and comedian BJ Porter.
Another interesting TV-related tidbit from the interview. Besser has been cast as Kayne West's chauffeur in the rapper's new show in development with HBO. Besser has spent the past month coaching Kayne in improv. Kayne doing improv? Looks like West may be vying for the title of hip-hop comedy king. Shouldn't be too hard to steal from Snoop "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle" Dogg.
Read the full interview at The Coming.
Dear David Koechner,
They say the only thing more romantic than love at first sight is love at third or fourth sight -- at least I think they say that, but whatever, it's true. What I'm trying to say, David Koechner, is that I've grown to admire you over the years. It's not a romantic or a sexual love, more like the love a man has for a tall frosty mug of beer, or the tasty flesh of a small calf cooked over the flaming remains of its own mother. It's a manly love I feel for you, D.K.I'll admit I didn't quite understand you at first. When you were on Saturday Night Live I thought you were just another comedian who considered nonsensical ranting and facial contortions a viable substitute for comedy. I was wrong, David Koechner, and I should have realized that by your participation in those "Bill Brasky" sketches, which are among some of my favorite SNL sketches of all time (video clip after the jump).
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